Published: September 27, 2022
Review & Onsite Photos by W.A. Demers
MADISON, CONN. – Madison Green, the centerpiece of the Madison Green Historic District, just west of the town’s commercial strip on US Route 1, was the venue for the Madison Antiques Show & Sale on September 17. The one-day show comes on the heels of Brimfield week but the vibe of this outdoor event could not be more different. No shoulder-to-shoulder massing of caffeinated treasure seekers at the 9 am opening. Indeed, shoppers calmly entered and paid at one of two entrances and enjoyed a park-like stroll past vendor spaces, mostly lining the tree-shaded main path, although the sunny spots were just pleasantly warm as one would expect on a September day.
Overseeing it all from a table set up at the show’s main entrance was Michele Call, who has served more than a decade in the chamber world and was appointed executive director of the Madison Chamber of Commerce in June 2021. At that point in the day, she said she had 40 registered vendors, some of which were familiar faces from other New England shows, others who were just downsizing their households. “We had 40 dealers register for the event, in the past we had as many as 60,” she said. “Though we are experiencing a new phenomenon – no shows – we have had a high rate of no-shows for the past four shows – during and since Covid.
“The event is in transition, post-Covid; we are adding different style vendors to attract people of all ages to the show and always looking for new dealers. This year was a good year, the gate was solid, and the attendees were shopping, which is what the dealers are happy to see.”
Call said that 70 percent of the show’s vendors identify themselves as antiques dealers. “We always have a couple of locals selling household antiques to downsize but they do not make up the majority of dealers.”
Now, whether one is an established dealer or “nest” cleaner, it’s important to have people to sell to, and this show brought them in. We were very pleased with the gate for this year,” said Call. “We had a steady stream of people attend – more than 600 in the seven hours.”
Just to the left of the main entrance, shoppers would encounter Farmington, Conn., dealer Marina Roser and Simsbury, Conn., dealer Kim Brewer. In her selection of fine art, Brewer had a quintessential autumn New England scene of cattle gathered around a meadow stream, the foliage turning orange and yellow with the promise of autumn. It was painted by George Arthur Hays (1854-1945), an artist active in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and known for landscapes with cattle. In its original frame, it was just one of the fine art pieces being offered by Brewer of Simsbury, Conn., who also had a special edition print of Gustave Klimt’s famous “The Kiss” house in a 22K gold leaf Orientalist frame.
Nearby were Gary McPhee and Doreen Baldwin of Middletown, Conn., whose business Someday Seaglass, appropriately for a shoreline show turns bits of found seaglass into whimsical forms such as mini palm trees, dragonflies, hearts, snowmen, pendants and more.
They did not have a lock on the show’s seaglass market, though. Phyllis Nolan makes hand-crafted jewelry, although her pieces are a bit larger owing to the fact that she “cultures” or tumbles the glass to give it a wave-worn look, then captures the piece with wire-wrapping to create a fetching pendant or ornament. In addition to teaching classes in wirewrapping seaglass jewelry, she also teaches beginners ukulele and chair yoga.
Vintage fashion buffs could find much to like in the fine cashmere selection offered by Veronica Rogers of Old Saybrook, Conn., (aka Cashmere Lady). Because cashmere is made of goat hair, she also offered instructions on the care of these garments, such as NEVER dry clean them, which robs them of their natural oils and promotes pilling. Instead she hand washes with Woolite, then rinses, using a cream rinse to soften the fibers and towel dries and presses by hand. Rogers donates a portion of her proceeds to the Smilow Cancer Center at Yale New Haven Hospital.
Further down this row of vendor spaces, New York City vintage jewelry specialist Olivia Garay was doing a brisk business from several well-stocked glass cases. Asked what was a hot seller, she said, “gold, as always,” though she took time to point out a special piece, an Italian Renaissance bronze match strike box decorated with Medusa heads. She said it had been appraised by Skinner at between $3,500 to $5,500, but was offering it for $1,300.
Much interesting railroadiana was on offer by Bob Comstock of Madison. His 30-year collection used to comprise mostly toy trains, but that market has softened up, he said, so his focus now is on “real railroads.” A collection of lanterns, including a great example with a ruby red globe, shared space with conductor hats, builder plaques, trolley bells and number boards. Some key finds here were a Chicago Heights, Ohio, Kaufman trolley bell; an engraved metal hammer with Norwich and Worcester Railroad markings; and a large NYC Railroad switch lantern, which one prospective buyer was trying to figure out how it could be used for entrance lighting.
One of the oft-heard mantra of the antiques trade is “Save Natural Resources…Buy Antiques!” That sentiment was being fully embraced by Sue Mallozzi and Dan Falvo of East Haddam, Conn. Sue’s business, Rock, Paper, Scissors, Glue, rescues orphaned pieces of silverware, which she hand-stamps with custom designs, adding dates, names, initials, sayings, etc. She sources the odd pieces at estate sales and flea markets. Dan creates wood crafts, harvesting 95 percent of the wood he uses to make charcuterie boards, serving boards, coasters and more from fallen or “nuisance” trees. In addition to these smaller projects, he has also made dining-table-length serving boards that can run down the center of a large table for holiday gatherings.
Proceeds of the show go to support the chamber in its efforts to support local business initiatives. The dates for 2023 are May 2 and September 16.
November 29, 2022
November 22, 2022
November 22, 2022
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm